15 Thoughts on the iPad (updated)

The iPadA dry description of the iPad’s actual features and usability will not sell anyone who doesn’t want one.

Nevertheless, here’s a list of my impressions:

  • It’s slick. This is what Apple can do: make something we’ve all seen demos of feel not only practical, but sexy.
  • Every basic part of the device works well, and the hardware feels more solid than the iPhone’s. The accelerometer feels more sensitive and the screen crisper than an iPhone.
  • The apps work as advertised.
  • Typing is easy. Not awkward at all.
  • The screen can get smudged easily, but really, there are worse burdens to bear in this life.
  • It doesn’t feel heavy to me, considering the fact that it’s basically a laptop screen.  Some Kindle users complain that it’s heavier than a Kindle 2, and that’s certainly true; I wouldn’t want to hold this upright with one hand for hours.  But that’s fine; it is basically a laptop screen.  It’s not going to be light.
  • Games normally hold little attraction for me anymore, but with the iPad I’ve gotten back into gaming a bit. I’ve logged several hours on Warpgate HD, a Privateer-like space trading and combat game. The Pac-Man emulator works perfectly. Mirror’s Edge is a disappointment (they turned it into a side-scroller), and FPS’s are just too hard to control.
  • The Kindle app looks gorgeous. Works flawlessly, too.
  • I still prefer my Kindle DX for reading. The solid state screen on the Kindle is much easier on the eyes for long periods.
  • I’ve been using Evernote for my Getting Things Done to-do lists. Works fine so far. Great having my lists on an ultraportable device, and the ability to easily add, change, and remove items is an advantage over paper.
  • There’s an app called Comics, which lets you read American comics. Wow. I read through the first issue of a Warren Ellis-written Iron Man story, and…well, for US $2 I could download and read an issue of Iron Man. Tremendously valuable. You can double-tap on a panel to zoom in on it, too.
  • I watched the first few minutes of The Big Sleep using the NetFlix app (which also lets you manage your queues as effectively as on their website). I like the idea of being able to watch TV shows and movies on the iPad, though I don’t know why I’d do so there instead of on my larger laptop or projector.
  • You can load any iPhone or iPod Touch app on the iPad, which can be doubled in size to take up the full iPad screen real estate. This looks acceptable for most apps, but for games, the effect is cartoony and pixellated.
  • An option in iTunes will automatically down-sample all MP3s to 128 mbps when transferring to the iPad. I went from about 28 GBs of music (which is just a subset of my collection) to about 8 that way; I think I can put all my music on the iPad.
    • For you non-techies, let me translate: 128 kbps is a relatively high quality rating, but many songs files are generated at an even higher quality.  There’s a checkbox in iTunes that, when checked, will convert any songs higher in quality than 128 kbps to 128 kbps before transferring them to the iPad.  This can save tremendous amounts of storage space.
  • The lack of Flash is something of a relief. I get fewer annoying, interactive banner ads. The video sites that I care about (YouTube, Vimeo) already support HTML 5 video, and I hope that will be the future of online video anyway.

Overall: Do I like it? Yes. Is it worth the money? That’s an individual decision. It’s worth my money, if just because I get to hold a bit of the future in my hands.

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